Beyond stargazing: DOST outlines plans to advance PH astronomy

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST), through the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), hosted the 13th Southeast Asia Astronomy Network Meeting (SEAAN) 2023, showcased its initiatives in astronomy development, which they said goes far beyond simply gazing at the stars.

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Photo from DOST

Together with the National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand (NARIT), the event brought together astronomy experts from Brunei, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, and Myanmar under the theme "Radio Astronomy Development in Southeast Asia," last Dec. 11.

The Philippines, represented by Rosario Ramos, chief of the Space Science and Astronomy Section of DOST-PAGASA, highlighted the DOST-PAGASA's initiatives to boost the public interest in astronomy.

DOST-PAGASA's initiatives include "hosting National Time Consciousness Week and National Astronomy Week, offering free planetarium shows and stargazing sessions during Global Astronomy Month, World Space Week 2023, and the Dark and Quiet Skies event are among the department is preparing," Ramos said.

She also pointed out the advantage of media collaboration for the increased number of participants during World Space Week 2023.

"In the planetarium, we usually have 100 or 200 visitors per day, but during World Space Week 2023, we had more than a thousand visitors because of the media collaboration," Rosario C. Ramos, chief of the Space Science and Astronomy Section of PAGASA said during the event.

Furthermore, the agency said that it was also actively investing in infrastructure to propel Philippine astronomy further forward.

Two major astronomical facilities, the Mindanao Regional Planetarium in Misamis Oriental and the Visayas Regional Planetarium in Cebu, are nearing completion and will soon open their doors to the public.